The events for this week include talks from women’s rights attorney and Georgetown Law graduate Sandra Fluke (LAW ’12), who testified to House Oversight Committee Democrats in 2012 on the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Inc. CEO Laura Meyers will speak on the impact of President Donald Trump’s election on the organization Tuesday, while Casa Latina is hosting an event on reproductive justice in the Latinx community.
“This year more than ever, we feel having events that destigmatize abortion, emphasize the intersecting identities of Georgetown community members, and create optimism in the face of virulently anti-choice politics and state-sanctioned hatred is imperative to creating supportive, compassionate, and inspired communities,” HFC said in a statement sent to The Hoya.
While the speakers and larger themes vary from year to year, according to H*yas for Choice Co-President Emily Stephens (SFS ’17), the Abortion Story Share-Out has been a foundational component of Choice Week since its inception. In the share-out, HFC members read stories of experiences with abortion submitted anonymously by members of the Georgetown community.
According to Stephens, the event is inspired by the 1 in 3 Campaign, in reference to the statistic that one in three women has an abortion at some point in her life.
“The only way to reduce the stigma surrounding abortion is to talk about it openly, and we hope reading these stories will empower other students to speak up about their own experiences, and inspire everyone to continue advocating for safe, legal, and accessible abortion,” Stephens wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Stephens said Choice Week events are designed to create a comfortable and inclusive environment.
“Our abortion story share is typically a more intimate affair, and our event on Thursday is also deliberately small, to hold space for people in the Latinx community who wrestle with their Catholic/Christian identity and reproductive justice issues, to share their views in a small, community setting,” Stephens wrote.
Stephens said Choice Week allows students to participate in dialogue around issues often overlooked by the university administration.
“If these events are not put on by students, they will not happen at all,” Stephens said. “That’s disappointing and unfortunate, because the vast majority of students on campus are pro-choice and pro-reproductive justice, and their views are not represented by the Georgetown administration. We fill in that gap.”
Kate Toner (NHS ’20), who is a member of H*yas for Choice, said the week is an opportunity for students to increase their awareness on the dialogue surrounding health issues.
“Choice Week is integral in destigmatizing a lot of issues that are becoming increasingly more relevant and important, especially in the context of our newly elected government,” Toner said. “As of now there is a lot of public contempt toward abortion, but I think if people hear the personal reasoning behind why a woman chooses to get an abortion, it could create a more supportive culture and decrease those negative feelings.”
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